Bird feeders causing weeds?

We have a bird feeder station tucked into the corner of one of our beds. I fill this with peanuts, fat balls and BIRD SEED. In the surrounding area underneath a type of grass has started growing in the bed. I assumed it was dreaded couch grass but this is very different, growing from a kind of kernel. I mentioned it to someone else who said the same thing had happened in their garden forcing them to move their feeder onto the lawn. Has anyone else noticed the same thing associated to bird seed?


  • Yes and it could be a kind of crop. We have had many seeds germinate including Niger seed, wheat, barley and sunflowers. The wheat and barley look more grass-like initially. I know that I get it most when I leave the feeder in one place. It helps to move the feeders periodically in any case to help prevent diseases that can affect the birds and/or encourage vermin.
  • Chris 7Chris 7 Posts: 102

    Certainly can !  I have loads of things growing underneath my bird feeders.

    A devil to keep clean and constantly have to get rid of it all !


  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 10,673

    If you microwave your bird seed for a minute or two it can remove its power to germinate yet leave it good for the birds.    I have a large stone slab under my fat ball feeders to catch seeds that drop and I also scatter loose seed on it for ground feeders.  It's easy enough to weed round its edges once in a while.

    The Vendée, France
  • diggingdorisdiggingdoris Posts: 502

    I've got a resident clever blackbird wo watches for the blue tits feeding at the fat balls and sits underneath on the lawn catching anything that falls down. It's as if they have come to an understanding!

  • Shrinking VioletShrinking Violet Posts: 915

    Obelixx - what a brilliant idea.  I would never have thought of that, but will adopt it from now on.  I have loads of random seedlings under the bird feeder, and it is a nuisance.  But I put up with it when, on a day like today, I had 6 siskins, 4 goldfinches on the feeder at one time.  But I haven't seen as many blue or great tits this yearimage

  • Gary HobsonGary Hobson Posts: 1,892

    I also have some large stone slabs directly beneath my bird feeder.

    The original reason why I put the slabs there was because the 'grass' beneath a bird feeder gets churned up, and muddied, mainly by other birds pecking at the bits that drop from the feeder. One way or another it becomes a real mess.

    The slabs also catch the debris, which does need to be cleared off regularly. Otherwise it develops into a mat, and then into a bed of nyjer seedlings, or whatever.

    I also use that as an area to spread other food, that ground feeding birds prefer.

  • BookertooBookertoo Posts: 1,306

    Some time ago it was suggested to me, and approved of by the RSPB who should know a thing or two about birds, that microwaving the bird seed for a couple of minutes on high power, then allowing it to cool it before it goes into the feeder, stops the seed germinationg.  it does work.  It seems that it makes no difference to the nutritional value for the birds.  

  • backyardeebackyardee Posts: 132

    I reused to let the OH put bird feeder in border. It's in the lawn where it can be mowed and strimmed.

  • Thanks for your advice - am definitely going to try the microwave trick. Plus, on the positive side be a)happy it's this type of grass and not couch grass and b) glad Ian not mad for imagining there is link between the two!
  • Green MagpieGreen Magpie Posts: 677

    Has anyone else had this problem with a niger (nyjer) feeder? I've got one of these which attracts the occasional goldfinch, and is also popular with greenfinches. But somehow a lot of the seed ends up on the ground beneath the feeder - I've just cleared up a thick layer of the stuff.  They don't eat it once it's landed, and it doesn't seem to grow either, but I hate the waste as this seed is not cheap. I really don't know how they manage to drop so much. I have seen feeders that incorporate a tray underneath - presumably this would have to have drainage holes to avoid a soggy mess. But it seems a shame to abandon the feeder I've got which is quite a well-made and solid one. Any ideas as to why this happens and what I can do about it?

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